Even if you don’t fancy yourself an Elton John fan, there’s a good chance you love at least some of his music. From his days as a ’70s singer-songwriter, through his years as a flamboyant and sometimes campy concert act to his more current role as the composer behind some of the biggest Hollywood and Broadway musicals of all time, the artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight has created an impressive variety of great music.
This weekend, the Sarasota Orchestra is devoting its attention to Sir Elton’s compositions in a pops concert scheduled for three performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
John is obviously noted for his piano playing, and joining the Sarasota Orchestra for this concert is a pianist with his own solid credentials. Michael Cavanaugh earned nominations for both Grammy and Tony awards for “Movin’ Out,” the Broadway hit that combined the music of Billy Joel and the choreography of Twyla Tharp. Cavanaugh played piano and served as the lead vocalist for the show. Joel himself selected Cavanaugh for the role.
Cavanaugh does a lot of work with symphony orchestras. You may have caught him with the Florida Orchestra a few years back with a pops program that featured songs by Joel, John, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He’s also played with orchestras around the country with a show he devised, titled “Singers and Songwriters: The music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor.”
The focus of the Sarasota Orchestra show will be squarely on Elton John’s music, but will also include works by McCartney and Peter Townshend.